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Biden says America is ‘awash in weapons of war,’ calls for ban on assault weapons

President Biden called for the ban on assault weapons to be reinstated on Monday at a White House event celebrating the passage of a bipartisan gun control bill, the first major firearm legislation that Congress has passed in decades. 

“We’re living in a country awash in weapons of war,” the president said. “I am determined to ban these weapons again, and high capacity magazines that hold 30 rounds, and let mass shooters fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes. I’m not going to stop until we do it.”

A recent spate of mass shootings from Buffalo, New York, to Uvalde, Texas, spurred lawmakers to pass the legislation that Biden signed last month. It will increase background check requirements for people younger than 21, allow authorities to more easily take firearms away from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others, and keep guns out of the hands of more domestic abusers. 

The bill stopped short of more stringent restrictions that Democrats have been pushing for, including the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that Biden called for on Monday, which was passed by Congress in 1994 but expired 10 years later. 


Studies on the effects of that assault weapons ban, which also prohibited large-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, have shown mixed results. 

A Department of Justice study in 2004 found that if the ban was renewed, “impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 6, 2017.

A 2020 study published in Criminology & Public Policy found that “most mass shootings do not involve assault rifles, but many involve the use of [large-capacity magazines].”

“This may explain why we found that [large-capacity magazines] bans were associated with significant reductions in the incidence of fatal mass shootings but that bans on assault weapons had no clear effects on either the incidence of mass shootings or on the incidence of victim fatalities from mass shootings,” the authors wrote. 

Biden also called for Congress to take up other gun control measures on Monday, including holding people accountable if their weapons aren’t properly secured and are used to commit a crime. 

“I have four shotguns. Two are mine and two were my deceased sons. They’re locked up, lock and key,” Biden said. “Every responsible gun owner that I know does that.”

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